Maren Aase: Disaster governance and autocratic legitimation in Bangladesh
Chapter in the book Routledge Handbook of Autocratization in South Asia, 2022, Routledge
During the past decades, reduced disaster mortality, efficient evacuations in the face of storms and climate change advocacy earned Bangladesh a reputation as a global leader within disaster risk reduction (DRR). From a present where authoritarianism jeopardizes past DRR achievements, this chapter discusses the much-overlooked issue of disaster risk creation (DRC) in Bangladesh, and specifically, if efforts ideally geared towards preventing and tackling disasters in themselves can aid autocratization. Examples from handling of cyclones, refugee influx, and a pandemic show how disaster governance can help autocrats tailor a protective façade while also using crises to curb resistance. The chapter concludes that Bangladesh’s disaster warning system is crumbling under a situation of risk accelerating autocratization, in part enabled by the very system put in place to protect the population against disaster.